Hi all. Welcome to my blog and Warner's World. I'm the author, Dave O'Connor. It's my pleasure to launch this new adventure. So sit yourself down, buckle up and hang on. It's going to be one hell of a ride.
So there I was sitting at my desk in my office at home in sunny Canberra of January 2011, staring at the blank page on my computer screen. I knew I wanted to write a sci-fi adventure. I wanted a spiritual warrior as my main character, Dave Warner, and I wanted a really strong female lead, Rihan Kabel. But that was about it.
I pondered advice I had read about and been told of the need to plan out your plot, consider all the combinations and twists. Other advice said determine how it ends and then work backwards. But none of this appealed. Life rarely works like that and for those that it does they are extremely lucky, extremely unlucky, control freaks or all of these combined.
So instead I opted to focus on a set of starting conditions – characters, place and events - and then use one or more themes as a guiding framework for the story to develop. I opted to focus the first book on courage, the greatest of virtues. All great beginnings start with a leap of courage.
I remember saying to myself 'just start writing Dave.’ And so I did. The more I wrote the more I revelled in the process. The characters were coming to life first in my mind but what was probably more pleasing was they were coming to life on the pages as I typed. It wasn’t long before they seemed to have a life of their own. I simply tried to inhabit each of the characters as best I could and to make what I thought would be the types of decisions they would make at each turn of events.
The story unfolded in ways that even surprised me. I really enjoyed those moments when I realised that the different threads would lead to an outcome I had not originally considered. Often it was then that my wife, Joy, would poke her head into my office at the front of the house and ask me why I had a big grin on my face.
I wrote at some pace and before I knew it the four week holiday was over. I had written almost 80,000 words. But by then I was hooked. I went back to work in the day time but continued writing in the evening and into the wee hours. I finished The Awakening by the end of February, just eight weeks since I started.
It had been a transformative time not only for my characters but also for me. I realised that writing this book had been not just a burst of creativity but it had allowed me to explore human nature more fully. At times it was extremely emotional. I recall how emotional I was while walking down to the shops to get a cup of coffee after writing a very dramatic section. Part of me knew it was pure fiction but the emotional response was just as palpable as those from my real life.
Overall it had been an overwhelmingly positive experience. I was a bit drained though. I decided to take a break. Real life intervened and it would be two years till I began the next book. TBC
Back in early January 2011 my wife, Joy, convinced me to take off four weeks from work. She, alas, still had to go to work and so I was home alone with starter's orders not to work on my games. I knew that this was going to be a challenge. I knew I had to have some preoccupation. So I turned to a novel I had once started some years back. It was called Warner's World. I reread what I had written. It didn't have enough gravitas, so I ditched it and started with a clean slate.
Now I had been given a fair bit of advice about writing from different folks over the years. I had also a fair bit of practical experience but not lately in fiction. Back in the 1980's I was a senior policy officer with our Department of Defence focussing on strategic and international relations. I had written just about every known type of policy document - from ministerial responses to cabinet submissions and even draft memorandums of understanding between governments.
After I left the public service in 1986 to start my own games company I gained a good degree of experience in writing marketing and user documentation. Later as a consultant on numerous defence projects I became a bit of an expert in project documentation. All that was pretty technical, dry and boring.
With a blank sheet of virtual paper in front of me in January 1911 I wanted to write something that was definitely not dry and boring. I set my mind to write an adventure on a big canvass but with the focus squarely on a small set of individuals. I wanted to explore how these people coped and developed as they played their part in what can be argued as the greatest stressor of human activities, war.
While thankfully I have never been personally subjected to the rigors of war I have studied it all my life. Eight years of Army Reserve experience, ten years in Defence and participation in numerous military projects since then had given me a good understanding of how military organisations work and how the people who work in them tick. In addition I have thirty years experience in studying military history and designing military simulations and war games. Much of this has focussed on writing artificial intelligence to model how military decisions are made and how soldiers react in combat.
I know a lot of people who have served or are still serving in the military. I don't claim to be an expert but I have a fair idea how they think and behave and believe me I had a huge range of rich characters to draw inspiration from.
So it was natural for me to write about soldiers in war. But I wanted more than that...TBC.
Dave O'Connor is an award winning designer of computer war games, a consultant to the military in the simulation space, an expert in artificial intelligence and now author of the Warner's World series of sci-fi books. He is probably best known as President of Panther Games and designer of the Command Ops computer wargame series. He lives in Canberra, Australia, with his wife Joy. He has two adult children.
Warp Drive Publishing
is a division of
Panther Games Pty Ltd
ACN 66 008 609 541
We are located in Canberra, Australia.